The Stars Align for H-E-B’s Free Groceries for Life Sweeps

Jacqueline Barba
Associate Editor
Jacqueline Barba profile picture

Texas-based regional grocer H-E-B is aiming to lure shoppers to its revamped mobile application through a sweepstakes awarding a lifetime of free groceries.

Leveraging the excitement surrounding the National Football League's Super Bowl and the star power of actress and Texas native Eva Longoria, H-E-B is taking an omnichannel approach by building its engaging sweeps, which kicked off on Feb. 2 (Super Bowl Sunday) and ends on Feb. 16, around the new My H-E-B app.  

To enter, participants download the new app — which debuted in December — create or log into an H-E-B account and play the game by correctly selecting 10 H-E-B products mentioned during the retailer's Super Bowl spot (view video below), which aired during the break between the game’s third and fourth quarters in more than a dozen key Texas markets. (H-E-B's delivery service Favor also ran a Super Bowl spot.)

The Super Bowl spot showed Longoria walking through a Super Bowl party, promoting the new My H-E-B app and its importance for partygoers. Product cameos included various H-E-B private brand items such as its H-E-B branded mustard, Kodi cooler and even Longoria and Fresh Cravings’ Eva's Kitchen cantina style salsa (an H-E-B exclusive SKU).

According to local news outlets and a flock of Twitter and YouTube users, H-E-B’s regional Super Bowl ad and sweeps caused such a stir on Super Bowl Sunday that the app crashed due to the large amount of traffic generated by Texans playing the mobile game.

A teaser for the commercial starring Longoria first put the sweeps and commercial on the public’s radar leading up to game time, though support carried across channels to also target in-store shoppers. Violators, a circular rack sign, outdoor yard signs and a slew of signage affixed to endcaps stocking party essentials plug the sweeps.

Other support spans home page leaderboard ads, social media updates, an add-on at the end of digital circulars and a Jan. 27 email blast. Most activity leads shoppers to a dedicated landing page detailing the sweeps and mobile app capabilities.

While the ad and game focused only on H-E-B private label and exclusive items, the Jan. 27 email also plugged a few savings available through the app including $2 off purchases of $6 worth of select frozen appetizers including Kraft Heinz’s Bagel Bites. That same email drew attention to a new capability on the My H-E-B app: shopping lists.

Additionally, a display ad within the app immediately greets users and directs them to enter the sweeps by playing the game. Upon completion, participants are sent another email confirming entry that also plugs app capabilities and offers a coupon for $3 off any $30 purchase for participating.

NOTE: For the full photo audit from this campaign and more, visit Path to Purchase Institute members have access to more than 1,600 images and nearly 200 articles of marketing and merchandising activity at H-E-B, along with a full Retailer Profile outlining the chain’s operations and strategies.